Friday, November 14, 2014

Cute and Cheap Etsy Packaging - Creating and Stocking a Shipping Station and Essential Supplies You Will Need

A long while back I wrote a post about finding and creating cute and cheap packaging for my vintage store on Etsy, Anthropolotique.  Since then I've found new ways that looks cuter, are more efficient and are still cheap!   In the past 8 years that I've been selling on Etsy, Ebay and even Instagram (for a bit) I've made many mistakes and have learned ways to simplify my workflow, save time and money and now I'm creating a short blog series about what I've learned. If you are a new seller on Etsy or are looking for ways to improve your current systems I hope you will find this info helpful and save yourself some headaches!

In this first post I'm going to discuss having a shipping station and the basic supplies you should have on hand to get started.  Although I sell jewelry, shoes, purses and occasionally housewares, I'm going to focus mainly on shipping clothes.  However the info will be still be helpful even if you sell other types of goods.

First of all I highly recommend having a designated "shipping station".  This does not to be as fancy as you might think, my shipping station is a small kitchen cart that I picked up at a garage sale. I like it because I can do my shipping without bending over on the floor, it keeps all of my supplies in one organized space and I can close it up and it looks tidy.  If space or cost is an issue you should at least  put all of your supplies in a rubbermaid box and pull it out when it's time to ship and use your kitchen table as a work space.  Regardless of how much you are shipping right now doing this will prevent many headaches of needing to get a package out and not having the supplies you need or not being able to find what you need.

My "Shipping Station".  Bags and envelopes are organized on shelves inside and the drawer holds scissors, tape etc.  One of these day I plan on turning the side towel bar into a holder for a kraft paper roll or bubble wrap. 

Below I've listed what I consider to be essentials for shipping.  Some of these might not seem essential at the moment, but in later posts when I talk about organizing and workflow you will see how much time these "essentials" can save you.  I do all of my shipping through the United States Post Office and print all of my labels at home. Here is a big tip I wish I had done from the very beginning: Print you postage at home. Don't waste time waiting in line at the post office, it is quite simple if you have the right materials to do everything at home.  Also when you print the labels online through Etsy (or paypal, Ebay or even you get a discount on the postage and tracking is automatically added to your customers order! Customers LOVE tracking and you should too.   Save time and money and print labels at home.

Here is what I recommend having on hand for shipping:

1. Clear Garment Bags  -  They come in a variety of sizes. I find that the 9 x 12 inch ones work great for most clothes. I just recently started purchasing larger sizes for sweaters and coats but if you don't sell a lot of those items you can always invest in those later.  I'll get more into this in another post but these are essential for keeping you organized and your merchandise clean.

2. Poly Mailers -  They are lightweight, durable, waterproof and cheap! These are great for shipping lightweight items and for shipping international. I love that you need NO shipping/packaging tape. Just peel and stick.  I mostly use the 13.5 x 10 inch ones but I also have a couple of larger ones on hand for shipping coats and bulkier items.

3. Shipping labels - I buy the sheets with 2 labels on them and it works great when you print your labels through Etsy, PayPal or Ebay.  You might feel like you should just print on regular paper and use packaging tape to tape them on your packages.  Trust me and invest in some of these labels. First off, packaging tape isn't cheap and also if you are in a hurry to get your package out it will ALWAYS get tangled and make you angry....  I was so happy when I finally started using these labels. All you do is print, peel and stick.

* I purchase all of the above items on Etsy (good for your Etsy karma:-) and occasionally on Ebay *

4. Simple digital scale - If you are selling mostly clothes a simple little scale will be fine. If you are selling bigger items then you might consider getting a heftier scale. On the occasions when I have a big package to send I just go to the Post Office and let them handle it.

5. USPS Priority Mail Packaging - This will make your life so simple because like the USPS commercial says "If it fits, it ships"!  Go to your post office and get a couple of each of the following:
     - Flat Rate Envelopes - The flimsy cardboard ones, get mostly Priority Mail ones but good to have
                                           one or two Express Mail envelopes just in case)
     - Priority Mail Tyvex Envelope - These are not Flat Rate so I hardly use them but since they are
                                                         FREE you might as well have a couple on hand just in case.
     - Medium Flat Rate Box I prefer the long rectangular one of the square one because it's peel and    
                                              stick but get some of both.
     - Large Flat Rate Box - I rarely use these but get one or two just in case.

6.  USPS Flat Rate PADDED Envelopes - I didn't include this above because for some reason you can't get them at your local post office.  However, these are my favorite!!  To get these you have to create an account at and order them here for free. Do it though, they fit way more then you can fit in a cardboard flat rate envelope and it's only about 75 cents more. I put sweaters and even shoes in these sometimes.

7.  Tissue Paper - Not necessarily an essential...  I used to use tissue paper all of the time but found that when mailing in the polymailer envelopes that the tissue would wrinkle on transporation and the presentation wasn't as nice when it arrived to the customer.  However I do use it for items shipped in boxes and if I'm doing gift wrapping for a customer so it's good to have on hand.   The cheapest I have found tissue paper is at Costco around Christmas time (I think it's about $5 for 400 sheets), I always buy a pack or two.

8. Bubble Wrap - Not essential for shipping clothes but if you are selling purses, shoes or jewelry you should have some on hand.  I stock up on this during the summer when Home Depot is selling it to people moving and it's relatively inexpensive.

9. Other stuff you should include is measuring tape, scissors, basic tape, clear packing tape, business cards and other cute packaging material

10.  And last but not least you NEED a printer but I hope you already knew that:-) If you already  Get one that can be set to print "grayscale" and has a separate cartridge for black ink if you are  in the market to get a new printer.   This will save you money on ink which is another expense like packaging tape that will add up quicker than you think.

Left going clockwise: the gray poly mailer, clear garment bag with
foldover top, small digital scale, shipping labels

Left to right: Flat Rate Padded Evelope (a must!), Plain Flat Rate Envelope, Express Mail Envelope

Let me know if I missed anything that you this is "essential". I'm always looking to simplify and save money!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

How to Wear the 90's "It" Sweater... AKA The Varsity Boyfriend V-Neck

   90's, 90's, 90's.... the 90's craze is still happening.  Style is jumping ahead to later in the 90's now. When I saw the "It" Talia Rag & Bone sweater pop up on the runway and then all over street style pics I had a total flashback. I remember in the 90's just having to have that style sweater.  Oversized, comfy and preppy.  I loved it.  I think it came after everyone was getting sick of grunge... could people be getting sick of grunge again?  The Rag and Bone Talia sweater is a little more fitted and the v-neck is definitely more of a plunge neck than the one I had but it's definitely inspired by that 90's trend! 

Talia Sweater at Nordstrom

Another one on the runway / Preen

  I'm not sure of the appropriate name for this style sweater but I've heard it called "boyfriend sweater" and "varsity sweater".   I remember my sweater vividly, it was a medium shade of green with a navy blue and white v-neck collar.  I bought it in the men's department at Mervyn's and it was very oversized and comfy. 

This sweater below is almost identical to the one I had back in the day, except it's white and is Eddie Bauer and not a generic Mervyn's brand. Does anyone remember Mervyn's???  The one below it I found on Etsy and it's wool, so a bit warmer.


Careful how you wear these sweaters because they could easily go to sloppy and look dated.  A modern way to style it  would be to pair it with a skirt (my fall favorite) or a sleek pair of skinny jeans. 

I love the leather skirt below and the black and navy combo looks so fresh.


These exaggerated pleats are amazing.

This makes me want a sequin pencil skirt badly...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chicer Than a Flannel and Fresher Than Chambray

It's transitional season here in CA when the weather can't decide if it's summer or fall.  Lately I go from being chilly to hot and then  back to chilly in a matter of minutes.  One look that all the High School girls around here (and around the world) are wearing is the flannel shirt that was brought back from it's grunge heyday in the 90's. It's so convenient and the perfect weight to wear this time of year as a coverup.  Keeps the light chill away and when it gets too hot, tie it around your waist.

I however will not being wearing flannels. I used I wore them in the 90's and quite frankly I'm getting too old for grunge:-) My flannel alternative used to be the chambray button up but I've TOTALLY overdone that look....  Last year I came across several Ralph Lauren button up cotton career shirts (also know as the boyfriend shirt)  at Goodwill and snatched them up! I wear them with almost  everything and they've become a wardrobe staple to me.

I wear them with shorts and tank, skinny jeans and tee and even over shift dresses. When it gets to hot I simply tie it around my waist or drape it over the top of my purse and carry it.   Also great for the airplane when the person next to you is blasting their air vent.

I love the ease of wearing one just like  flannel, but it definitely feels chicer and much more "me" than a flannel.

I own this striped one and this oxford one as well as a solid white and a khaki safari one.

I pretty much wear a version of this every time I get on a plane. 
 On a side note, I LOVE these Mother Looker skinny jeans. So comfy! 

I don't personally wear mine over a leather crop top but if you are Miranda Kerr you do:-)

Airplane Travel Outfit - Normcore

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tied Up Shirt - The User Friendly Crop Top

I love how crop tops look, well most crop tops anyhow. I like the simple fitted ones that are almost like an accessory to a statement pant or skirt. However, if you aren't comfortable baring your midriff like me, then opt for tying up a shirt to give you a similar look.

  I have several crop tops that I use for styling the vintage pieces in my Etsy shop on my model.  The two that get the most use are a neutral striped top and a long sleeve turtleneck white one.

This is the beige and white crop top. It's the perfect neutral stripes for mixing prints. I really love the stripe top with floral prints and now I've begun to mix it in with gingham too. Festival Skirt

                                                         Pleated Gingham Skirt

I love these turtle neck crop tops with high waisted skirt. Keeps enough covered up so the look is more demure. Floral High Waist Skirt

As I said before, although I love the crop top look it isn't the right look for me.  When I want a similar look I tie up a blouse or a tee.  Tie it where you feel comfortable. If I'm layering blouses, I'll wear a fitted tank undereath and tie the blouse up just about the waist line. If I'm not layering I'll make sure I'm wearing bottoms that don't give me a "muffin top" and I'll tie it right on the waist line. 

This neutral striped blouse is tied up on the model just about her waist band. Another option would be to wear a fitted tank underneath if you want no skin showing. 

Another reason I love this tied up look is that it can dress down a skirt or pants that otherwise might be too formal for a day look. Here is a simple gray tank with a silk skirt and J CREW doing the look too. Great casual but chic weekend outfit.  This is especially cool with a semi formal maxi skirt.

I think this is an attached outfit, but this inspires me to do a white tee with a white long skirt soon! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How To Wear Overalls

In case you haven't noticed, everyone is going crazy for overalls right now. Well maybe not everyone, but  I can hardly keep them in stock in my ETSY shop.  I've been saying for a while now (see my post from last may)  that they were coming back and all of my friends who lived through the 90's groaned. Now those nay-sayers are even coveting a pair:-)

Top designers had them on their runways, street style gals are being photographed in them everywhere... Would you wear overalls?

If you are going to wear them, the key in my opinion is to to update them.  You could go grunge, tie a flannel around your waist and put on some Birkenstocks. However if you over 21 and you want to look someone grown up in them try to give them some modern styling.

I've seen lots of girls online wearing them with heels. Looks cute and definitely separates them from being your Grandpa's overalls. Definitely cuff them up to show off a statement pair.  Pinterest

My absolute favorite brand of denim this year is Mother. Anthropologie just got some overalls from Mother in stock. 

This pair of overalls is in my shop right now. I styled them casual with a crop top, sandals and some long necklaces. I really love this pair because of the distressed fading on the legs. Great vintage pair! 

This 90's pair of overalls in my shop are a darker denim. What I love about them is the modern looking bib and how the waist drops lower.  I put these with a pair of metallic wedges to dress them up a bit. 

A pair of shorts overalls like these from Madewell make a perfect bathing suit coverup too! 

And if you really have to wear them with Birkenstocksgo with a cool pair like these from Nordstroms. I'm actually obsessed with them and want to buy them but they are currently sold out :-( 

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I find as I get older I can't handle synthetic fabrics anymore.  I don't like how they feel, how they don't breathe.... I love cotton mostly and rayon.  Lately I'm falling more and more in love with silk.  It's so light, delicate and lovely.  I like to mix textures and silk is my current favorite texture to throw in to the mix.   Kind of a high/low look with silk as a statement piece. Fancy silk pieces with a cotton tee for example. Or a denim jacket with a silk skirt.

 This look is hands down my favorite look from the latest runway pics on pinterest. This is by Altuzarra. I love the shiny silk silk with the dull henley looking tee. It's definitely inspiring my spring/summer wardrobe purchases.

These pants look so comfy but they are also so chic. I love how she paired this with a simple white tee. On pinterest.

Here is a Ralph Lauren runway look. Boho silk. Pinterest

I love this simple silk tee dress down with leather sandals.  Styled to perfection. Pinterest 

I am also loving simple silk dresses like this one Rosie is wearing.

Here is one from J Crew Collection. I think it would be perfect for an island vacation, but I always think and island vacation would be perfect.

Another favorite for this spring is the shift dress.  This dress is silk and would be another perfect option.

Kind of like the shirt dress is the tunic dress.  The tunic dress (or caftan) looks better on me because of the lower neckline.  This caftan one is a satin silk/rayon blend from Thakoon. Perfect with some flat sandals for strolling around on the weekend. 

If the ones above aren't in your price range, try looking for some vintage ones. The floral button up one above is on etsy right now for $28! 

If you are looking for some thing more minimalistic here is one that is in my shop right now for $50. The silk is kind of matte and it's so lovely.